Just two weeks before the 2020 Championship Tour season kickoff at Snapper, the WSL made the decision to cancel all events in March for the safety of the athletes, fans and staff. When news broke, WSL Commentator Joe Turpel was in Australia covering the Sydney Surf Pro. Amid the confusion surrounding the initial stages of the pandemic, Turpel was unsure when he would be commentating again.
As weeks passed, Turpel, like many others, had to navigate the waters of the extended time at home. Spending the majority of the year on the road, slowing down came as an adjustment, then it became one of the most important experiences for his family.
"That transition for me was really healthy just to be incredibly present and just waking up with my daughter every morning and checking the surf at Rocky Point. I got really used to that all of the sudden and I didn't have a flight coming up," Turpel shared with Khon2 Sports.
After five months away from the booth, Turpel made his return to commentating at the Rumble at the Ranch specialty event on August 9th. Leading up to the event, Turpel spent most of his extended offseason on the North Shore and in California.
"Everybody was just so happy to be able to do what they love again but with a different appreciation. It reminds you exactly why we do what we do and it just emphasizes that it's a total dream to be a part of [it]," Turpel described.
As an 11-year-old in Hawaii, Turpel was introduced to the world of sports commentating while attending a summer course at Punaho school in Honolulu. After graduating college at UCSB, Turpel went on to commentate small junior surf events.
Today, he's become arguably the most recognized voice in surfing. While he's honored to be where he's at, Joe doesn't care about titles, he's just here doing what he loves.
Listen to the full interview with Rob Demello for Khon2 Sports here.